Study finds over 25% of Drake and Justin Bieber's Instagram followers are fake
A recording artist's celebrity status used to be measured in album sales, but in the ever-changing landscape of music consumption, social media followings have become the true mark of success, making (and sometimes breaking) the egos of big names like Drake, Justin Beiber, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd.
This particular group of Ontario-born artists are easily the most famous Canadian celebrities alive in terms of Instagram followings, but they are also the worst-ranked in a new study looking into the prevalence of fake social media followers.
The study, from online gambling bonus platform BonusFinder Canada, found that, between those four top-ranking Canadian celebs, they share a completely bonkers total of 138,452,558 dummy or bot accounts — fake accounts that allegedly net these stars quite a bit of extra sponsorship revenue.
Researchers looked into how much money the top-ten most-followed Canadian celebrities on Instagram were making in sponsorships based on followings bolstered by fake accounts, and the numbers are pretty shocking.
IG handles were collected and analyzed by modash.io's audience credibility tool to determine a percentage of fake accounts per celebrity, with findings subtracted from account totals to deduce the number of real vs. fake followers.
These figures were then run though Influencer Marketing Hub's Instagram earnings calculator to determine the revenue earned by sponsored posts on each celebrity account, and multiplied by the number of estimated fake accounts.
The worst offender is Justin Bieber, whom the study alleges has close to 74 million fake followers, nearly double the population of Canada. The London, Ontario-born popstar's 73,741,090 fake followers represent a 26 per cent share of his total 280,491,021 followers at the time of the study, sitting at the 11th-most followed IG account.
Without these alleged fakes, the study states that Bieber would make $328,420.15 less on each sponsored post he shares with IG followers.
In second place on the list of most-followed Canadian celebs, Toronto's own Drake has 132,820,729 Instagram followers. But not if you count the alleged 35,064,673 bogus accounts following the hip-hop icon, almost as fakes as there are people living in Canada.
Aubrey Graham may sit in second place behind Justin Bieber in terms of followers, but the two Ontario icons share the distinction of having an alleged 26 per cent of their following made up of fake accounts. BonusFinder's report says that Drake's fake followers bolster his estimated earnings per sponsored post by $155,413.55.
Pickering's Shawn Mendes sits in third place among the most-followed Canadian celebs, however, 16,135,319 of his total following of 71,521,803 — or 23 per cent — is reported to be made up of fakes.
These phantom followers boost Mendes' sponsored post value by $72,871.28 a pop.
Another Toronto native sits in fourth place on the list in The Weeknd. The Scarborough artist has an estimated 13,511,476 fake followers representing a whopping 27 per cent of his total of 50,415,955.
Those are just the top four on a list of the ten most-followed Canadian celebrities, though there are some other notable names worth mentioning.
Other big-name Canadians included on the list include sixth-place Ryan Reynolds, with an estimated 8,404,705 fake followers representing 18 per cent of his total, and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard in tenth place, with a reported 4,412,577 fake followers accounting for 17 per cent of his total.
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